“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you; But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV)
For Melanie Richardson-Phillips, she sensed all along that she was being tried and tested unlike never before.
She sensed that her faith had been placed on trial and cross examined by the adversary.
She sensed that like Job, she had been strategically handpicked by God to engage in a spiritual sparing match, of sorts, with satan.
While Richardson-Phillips knew that God would ultimately provide for her a way of escape — some spiritual relief, if you will — that about which she endured through her marriage seemed downright unbearable and seemingly insurmountable at times.
“There were days when I would just scream, holler, and cry out to the Lord to please help me, because the pain was so great and unbearable,” Richardson-Phillips told Making Headline News during an exclusive interview this week. “Then one day the in the midst of my crying, the Holy Spirit spoke and said, ‘Get your pen, paper, and write.’ The funny thing is I looked around to see if there was anyone else in the room besides me. Then the Holy Spirit spoke again, ‘Get your pen, paper, and write.’ And that’s what I did and, at that time, the Lord poured into me while using me as a vessel.”
To Richardson-Phillips’ credit, although her marriage of more than two decades had ultimately ended in divorce, her much-anticipated breakthrough had surfaced, courtesy of her having obeyed God’s command.
Come Saturday, before a gallery of family members, friends, and well-wishers, Richardson-Phillips’ harvest season will come full circle when she host her inaugural Strengthen The Bond Mother And Daughter Luncheon from Owens Brennan’s, located at 6150 Popular Avenue in East Memphis.
The event will take place from 2:30-5 p.m. and will be highlighted by the official release of Richardson-Phillips’ book entitled, “Divorce From My Point of View,” a compelling, awe-inspiring written document this native Memphian had begun producing last summer and completed in February.
As Richardson-Phillips — a Memphis Melrose High alum who resides in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin — explained, “Divorce From My Point of View” is what she describes as the first installment from The Mouth Of Babes Series.
Her next installment through this series will ultimately culminate with the release of her second book, “Love Thy Enemies” a project she anticipates will released as early as September.
Richardson-Phillips’ book can be purchased at www.themouthofbabes.net and Amazon.com, according to her publisher.
Although she admittedly organized Saturday’s Mother’s Day weekend luncheon in her native establishment out of the pain of her divorce, Richardson-Phillips acknowledged that there is a divine purpose for which God assigned her to put on such an event.
“What I want people to know is children are precious in God’s sight, and it’s the sole duty of parents to nurture, love, teach, and inspire them, and this is where it starts…in the home,” said Richardson-Phillips while alluding to the familiar passages of Jeremiah 1:6-7. “It’s also in the home where their hopes and dreams can be destroyed and their expectations of their parents are lowered. This is why prayer is important and it should be taught to the youth at an early age.”
Despite the occurrences that led to what she deemed the “death” of her marriage, prayer was certainly one of the spiritual attributes that greatly enabled Richardson-Phillips to seek and possess the spiritual relief she desperately needed.
In fact, even when it seemed she was on the brink of going spiritually-bankrupted, there was Richardson-Phillips’ daughter, Cheria Rush, coming to her mother’s rescue armed with prayer much like her mom had done during her children’s youth.
That, by all accounts, practically sums up why Saturday’s event is so essential, particularly for those whom, like Richardson-Phillips, have faced the heartache and pain of a broken marriage and displaced peace in the home.
“Strengthen The Bond is an organization that offers opportunities for mothers and daughters to connect, grow, heal, and celebrate each other while strengthening their bond,” Richardson-Phillips explained. “In the beginning, there were days when I couldn’t pray for myself and my daughter would come over every morning and pray for her brother and me.”
Even when time didn’t allow for her daughter to make a physical appearance at her mother’s residence, prayer still seemed be the pivotal weapon that Richardson-Phillips used to aid her mightily, especially during her marriage’s darkest hours.
“The days that she couldn’t come by she would call and pray with us and, out of this, the Lord showed me that we were strengthening the bond that connected us together,” Richardson-Phillips said. “So, regardless if a mother-daughter relationship is strained, broken, or perfectly fine, their bond can still be strengthened. And I know without a shadow of a doubt that prayer can truly change your life.”
Tickets for the Strengthen The Bond Mother And Daughter Luncheon are $20 for young ladies ages 14-and-under and $25 for ladies 15-and-up. For more information, log on to: www.strengthenthebond.com.
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Andre Johnson is Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.